Fighting for those touched by cancer

Author: Jenna Bilinski

Dr. Merluzzi

Watch the latest What Would You Fighting For video featuring Professor Tom Merluzzi of the Department of Psychology and Kate Voelker, director of RiverBend Cancer Services.  Merluzzi and Voelker are co-leaders of the Harper Cancer Research Insitute Behavioral Oncology and Survivorship program. 

One of out every three people receiving treatment for cancer also struggle with anxiety and clinical depression. Even when cancer patients survive the disease, they suffer from these psychological conditions at twice the rate of the general population.

Tom Merluzzi, psychology professor and director of the Notre Dame Laboratory for Psycho-Oncology Research, is working to reduce that rate. Inspired by the resilience his late wife and mother showed throughout their diagnoses and treatments, he began to study coping skills and how they impact a patient’s quality of life. The result of his work is the Cancer Behavior Inventory (CBI), a widely used measure of self-efficacy translated into more than a dozen languages and used worldwide. His hope is to pinpoint coping skills that aid in the recovery process, so we can help those who struggle. And that one day, cancer patients will receive psychological care alongside surgical, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Originally published by Jenna Bilinski at on November 17, 2014.